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Full text of "My Country And My People"

I4O      MY COUNTRY AND MY PEOPLE

perhaps overdrawn, but it is not mere fiction. Yes, woman
rules in the family, while man rules outside it, for Confucius
has set this sharp division of labour.

The women know it, too. To-day the salesgirls in the depart-
ment stores of Shanghai still look with eyes of envy on the
married women with their fat handbags, and wish they were
buying instead of selling.   Sometimes they wish they were
knitting sweaters for their babies instead of counting the change,
and standing for a stretch of eight hours is long and tiring in
high-heeled shoes.  Most of them know instinctively which is
the better thing.   Some of them prefer their independence,
but the so-called independence in a man-ruled society does not
amount to much.   The cynical ones laugh a little at this
"independence." The primeval urge of motherhood—formless,
wordless and vague and strong—fills their whole beings. The
maternal urge causes the cosmetic urge, all so innocent, so
natural and so instinctive, and they count the savings from their
starvation wages which hardly suffice to buy them the mesh
stockings they are selling themselves.  They wish they had a
boy friend to buy them presents, and they would perhaps ask
him to, indirectly, shyly, in an effort to keep their self-respect.
Chinese girls are essentially decent, but why shouldn't they ask
men to buy them presents? How else may they purchase mesh
stockings, which their instinct tells them they must have? Life
is such a mix-up!  All too clearly the idea dawns upon them
that they want one man to buy them presents for life. They
want to marry.   Their instinct is right.   What is wrong in
marriage? What is wrong in protected motherhood?

In the home they have arrived. They knit and they sew,
although now in the middle-class families in Kiangsu and
Chekiang they do not even cook or sew. For men have beat
them on their own ground, and the best tailors and cooks are
men and not women. Men will continue to beat them in
every profession except marriage. For men have every advantage
over women outside marriage, while inside marriage women
have every advantage over men, and they know it. In every
nation the happiness of women does not depend on how many
social advantages they enjoy, but on the quality of the men
they live with. Women suffer more from male tyranny and